The much anticipated Wolfram Alpha launched in May of this year. Although commonly referred to as a search engine, Wolfram Alpha is actually a computation engine. As Javed Panjwani, the Business Development Executive at Wolfram Alpha, explains, a traditional search engine creates a Web of documents and essentially generalizes what a user is looking for. A computation engine, on the other hand, personalizes the search results.
While he believes traditional search serves an incredible purpose, Panjwani believes it has some limitations. Because there is a tremendous amount of data that cannot be indexed, search is really only able to provide access to the tip of iceberg.
He told WebProNews, “…as the time goes by and as different technologies evolve, computation – what we are doing – and [the] semantic Web, which are things people are trying to do, will continue to create more and more value and create [a] more and more relevant and valuable experience for the user.”
Some traditional search engines are apparently realizing the value of computation since Microsoft’s Bing recently announced its partnership with Wolfram Alpha. Bing is now integrating the computation engine directly into its results regarding diet and nutrition information.
In the above interview, Panjwani indicated that Wolfram Alpha was in similar partnership conversations with others as well.
How do you value computation? Do you find it helpful, or do you prefer traditional search?